Sinclair pipe chanters enjoy an excellent reputation here in Australia as well. I shall be playing a Sinclair chanter in my pipes on the Tour. Rory and Ian, it sounds as though we might tune in well together. What are the other pipers on the Tour playing?
Niven, pipes (reed pipes, and later bagpipes ) were very common in Eastern, and Southern European countries (including Italy) over 2000 years ago. Groups of female pipers who played professionally were commonplace.
There is a later and more notable link with Italy. The famous MacCrimmons of Piobaireachd repute originated there. Petrus Bruno was born in Cremona in 1575, and with his two sons John and Patrick, moved to Ireland in 1610. They afterwards changed their name to MacCrimmon. They were excellent pipers, and after moving to Skye, established a school of piping which became world famous. Their tuition course was of seven years duration, hence the adage that 'it takes seven years to make a piper, and seven generations of pipers behind him.' It was Petrus Bruno who developed the Canntaireachd, the piper's singing language, which was based on deep religious significance. The speciality of the MacCrimmons was Piobaireachd, which is classical pipe music, and which was often played in such a way as to warn of the approach of enemies.
So, Italian bagpipers! Yes, they have had a very intense effect on our 'traditional' music.